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Our last trip of 2018 was OKC! Milana is on a quest to visit all 50 states and this was state number 20 for her. Dave and I have visited 49 (missing Alaska) and she wants to do that one together as a family. We flew Southwest (because points and companion pass means free travel!) out of LGB and had a fun long weekend trip.
Milana slept quite a bit on the way there and played with her Playfoam Snowy Friends. We love Playfoam and I found these with little characters inside just before our trip, and she loved it! Playfoam is no mess and forms into any shape you want, making it great for travel. We also use the Trayblecloth airplane tray cover which helps keep her things contained to one area and not rolling all over the place!
We stayed at Aloft in Bricktown, which was in a great location! I booked the hotel using points and we got upgraded to an amazing room with a massive living room, separate bedroom and a really great bathroom with a massive jacuzzi tub. I have titanium elite status with Marriott, so we get amazing upgrades every time we travel as well as many free nights every year. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend earning points and not paying for hotel rooms! The card I use most is the Chase Marriott Bonvoy card.
THINGS TO DO
Coming from SoCal, it was pretty chilly in December! But luckily, there are lots of indoor things and activities in OKC and the surrounding area. We visited the Science Museum (free if you have reciprocity from your local museum!) and it was one of our favorites that we have been to. There are lots of interactive exhibits and there were barely any people on a weekday afternoon, after school groups had left.
Another super cool place is the Museum of Osteology. This was great because kids were allowed to touch a lot of the skeletons, making the learning experience that much better. Most of the skeletons are from real animals, and the ones that were man made were noted next to their description. They also had scavenger hunts, with different difficulties for each age. It’s a small place but so worth the visit!
We also visited the National Cowboy Museum. Now this isn’t particularly for kids, however they do have a kids section and during the time we went, they had a scavenger hunt for kids which Milana loved. She had to find 2 elves hidden somewhere in the museum to get a prize (a jingle bell) and had fun going from exhibit to exhibit til she finally found the elves.
Because it was almost Christmas, Bass Pro Shops had their Christmas Village up with a free visit to see Santa. This was really cute and they even had some crafts for the kids to do. There was no one there when we went on a weekday afternoon so we had the entire place to ourselves.
Since we do the Polar Express train ride every year and missed out on booking one this year, I researched and found that OKC does their own Christmas train ride at the Oklahoma Railway Museum, though it’s not affiliated with the Polar Express one. It was a fraction of the cost (less than $20/ticket compared to the $60 plus we pay for the Polar Express!) so I didn’t expect much. Well it was better than the Polar Express ones we have been to! Milana agreed, the staff was interactive and the Santa was much better looking than the ones we’ve had on our Polar Express rides. If you’re here during the Christmas season, don’t miss this!
Since our hotel was right in Bricktown, we checked out this area too. They had free water taxi rides to see the canal lights, so we did that one evening.
There’s also a candy store and lots of shops, restaurants and an arcade right in the heart of Bricktown.
Since it got dark so quickly, we had to plan some indoor things in the evenings. I found 2 indoor playgrounds and we checked them out. The first was called Breakaway and it was lots of fun! They have a huge climbing structure as well as a little village section with a doctor’s office, etc.
The second one (just a few minutes down the road from Breakaway) was Unpluggits. This one was perfect for Milana since she loves art. They have a huge art studio where kids can paint, draw, color, etc. and then go play on the play structure. You can do the art without paying to play but we did both. If you are going just to play, I’d choose Breakaway however we both preferred this one because of the art area.
While driving around one night, we came upon this massive Christmas light display. They encouraged you to park and walk through to check out the lights (free!) which we did. We don’t have many light displays here in CA that are free especially and in fact, it doesn’t even have the Christmas feeling that OK had. Milana mentioned several times at how Christmas-y the entire area was!
I’ll be honest, we didn’t really come here for the food and with just a few days, didn’t try too many. However, we had some of the best ramen we’ve ever had while in OKC at the Tamashii Ramen House. We’ve had ramen all over the world, including Japan, but this was by far the best! There was a line outside before they opened and it filled up quickly on a weekday, so I recommend coming early to avoid long waits.
Now this isn’t a place you go to for food, but being country music fans and Tobey Keith specifically, we couldn’t go all the way to OKC and not visit his restaurant! We found out that Tobey grew up just a few miles from OKC. The food isn’t anything special but we liked the atmosphere and I’d say it’s a must visit if you are a Tobey fan!
Texas Roadhouse is probably our favorite chain restaurant. The closest one to us is around an hour away so we visit them if we happen to be in an area that has them. Milana loves the peanuts on each table and the rolls with the best butter you’ll ever have! Again, not exactly a foodie place but super fun especially if you are traveling with kids!
Before heading on our train ride, we looked for a lunch place nearby and Mama E’s came up in my search. Milana saw a picture of Guy Fieri on their site and said we have to go try it! The owner is really friendly and the food is really good. If you like fried chicken and Southern food, definitely stop here and support a local business.
Our Sunday tradition at home is to go to dim sum and I figured since we are in OKC, we’d have to skip that week. Well I was wrong! There is an Asian District in the city with a really good dim sum place! At Fung’s Kitchen they have the dim sum carts just like we do at home with the same familiar favorites.
After dim sum, we got some Boba tea down the street from Teapioca Lounge.
All About Cha is a local chain specializing in coffee and tea. They also have some food and dessert options, making it a great place for a quick afternoon pick me up. I’m a huge tea drinker and they definitely didn’t disappoint! Milana had some hot chocolate and a fruit crepe, which was really good as well.
But perhaps our favorite place was Andy’s Custard. Nothing says winter day like frozen treats! There are several locations of this place and the 2 we visited had drive thrus, making their super convenient with kids. We came here twice and probably would have every night of our stay had we discovered it sooner! Don’t miss this gem, I imagine it’s even more popular on summer days even though the cold winter nights didn’t stop people from coming!
As you can see, there is lots to see and do in Oklahoma City. We had 3 full days and wasted no time exploring the city!